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@clarkp

Raving since 2018 Active 10 months, 3 weeks ago

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My Races

Organize, track & review your races and personal bests here.

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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Future Races

Future Races (0)

Race Distance Location Date Paid

Past Races (2)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Marathon Newport News, VA Mar 5, 2022
5K Austin, TX Jun 23, 2018

My Raves

I enjoyed this marathon. The race was managed very well. Everything from the expo to the starting line buses to the bathrooms was all smooth. The good: - The course … MORE

I enjoyed this marathon. The race was managed very well. Everything from the expo to the starting line buses to the bathrooms was all smooth.

The good:
– The course is relatively flat, which makes it great for a PR.
– The aid stations are frequent and well-staffed.
– There were both actual bathrooms at the start, and plenty of port-a-potties.
– The post-race party is sponsored by a local brewery.
– The start of the course is beautiful.

The bad:
– They only offered low-calorie sports drink (Huma Hydration) at the aid stations. That’s ridiculous and counter-productive for a marathon. If I’m burning over 2000 calories, I certainly don’t need a “low-calorie” sports drink.
– The course has some beautiful portions, like the start in Newport News park. However, the last 4 miles can be pretty ugly. Downtown Newport News is not scenic.
– There’s not a lot of runners at the faster paces. I ended up in no-man’s-land for the last quarter of the race, with no other marathoners in sight.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

The race management was obviously more interested in their post-race festival than the actual race. There were several big problems with the race which completely ruined it for me. I … MORE

The race management was obviously more interested in their post-race festival than the actual race. There were several big problems with the race which completely ruined it for me. I can excuse one mistake or maybe even two, but this was just a poorly managed race.

At the first turn, there was no indication of which way to go. The course map didn’t give any indication either–we weren’t sure if we were supposed to go clockwise or counter-clockwise around the lake. There was no lead cyclist, no signs, or no race officials pointing which way to go. We turned left, but we were supposed to go right. So everyone was off right from the start, and the confusion was thick enough to cut with a knife.

The race volunteers finally directed us back onto the main route, but by then it was too late for a PR for anyone. Some of the lead pack had split off at one point in their confusion, adding even more time onto a bad race.

But it wasn’t just one mistake–there were two other points where race officials didn’t know which way to direct people and sent some of the pack off the wrong way. At one point, I had a race volunteer tell me to run turn left down a path, only to have another volunteer 100 yards later telling me to turn around and go the other way. It was a complete mess.

The course was bad too. Part of the run was out and back along a park trail, but there was no separation of the trail for going out/coming back. The trail was only wide enough for about 4 people abreast. That was a little cramped going out, but was awful once people started turning around and coming back. I had to constantly dodge around throngs of people, stollers, and dogs. I literally ran into someone headed the opposite direction when I rounded a blind turn.

Looking at the race on Strava, the final distances are all over the place: 3.2 miles, 3.5 miles, 3.7 miles. That’s bad enough as it is, but it would be incredibly frustrating for those hoping to win prize money. There were cash prizes for the top spots and the grand prize was entry into the Cayman Islands Marathon, plus round trip air transportation and a three-night trip to the Cayman Islands. If you’re going to offer prizes like that, you should at least offer a level playing field.

All that being said, the post-race festival was easily the best post-race festival I’ve attended at a 5K. There was plenty of samples and hand-outs to snack on, including mac and cheese, hummus, protein shakes, carrots, fruit and vegetable juices, and granola bars. The impressive thing was that the festival was open to everyone, not just runners. So all the spectators got to join in as well. There were cooking demonstrations, a yoga session, and even a bubble machine to entertain the little kids. The quality of the festival dulled the impact of the terrible race.

The course was a beautiful location too–a scenic park, relatively flat, and mostly on trails. And the aid stations offered cookies too, which was a little odd but a nice gesture.

Would I run this again? No. But that post-race festival sure was amazing.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
1
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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